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Health Insurance

Rumors Swirl of Possible Walmart Acquisition of Humana

March 30, 2018 - Walmart may be making a move to acquire Humana, one of the nation’s biggest health payers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Citing sources familiar with the matter – but without comment from Humana or Walmart – the Journal reported that “preliminary talks” are underway to bring the two entities together through some form of enhanced partnership,...


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CA to Investigate Aetna after Insurance Claim Review Admission

by Thomas Beaton

The California Insurance Commission has opened an investigation into Aetna’s medical practices after a former medical director for the company testified in court that he did not review patient records before approving or denying...

Health Insurance Costs Placing Stress on Majority of Americans

by Thomas Beaton

Sixty-nine percent of Americans with an income of $50,000 a year or more cited the cost of health insurance as a major stressor and 63 percent of Americans with incomes less than $50,000 per year cited insurance costs as a major life...

Optum to Purchase DaVita Medical Group for $4.9B

by Thomas Beaton

Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, has agreed to acquire DaVita Medical Group for $4.9 billion, expanding the health care services company’s footprint in the direct care delivery environment. The acquisition, expected to be...

CVS Health to Buy Aetna for $69B, Altering Payer Landscape

by Jennifer Bresnick

CVS Health is continuing its quest to become a major force in the growing world of consumer-centric healthcare by announcing that it will buy Aetna for $69 billion.  "This combination brings together the expertise of two great...

Senate Passes Tax Bill, Individual Mandate Repeal in 51-49 Vote

by Thomas Beaton

The US Senate voted 51-49 to reform national tax policy and simultaneously repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, major news outlets reported at the end of last week. GOP senators only lost one Republican vote and were...

Ensuring High Out-of-Pocket Spending Won’t Lead to Negative Outcomes

by Thomas Beaton

High deductible health plans (HDHPs) are intended to reduce payer and beneficiary spending on healthcare services, but untenable out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries could lead to patients letting preventable conditions develop into...

Integrated Medical, Pharmacy Benefits Help Costs, Member Engagement

by Jennifer Bresnick

Integrating medical benefits with pharmacy benefits can help healthcare payers and employer sponsors lower spending, improve member engagement, raise satisfaction, increase care coordination, and manage population health – ticking...

44% of Employees Don’t Know Value of Health Plan Benefits

by Thomas Beaton

Employers must increase their efforts to educate members about the value of their health plan benefits based on recent findings that only 44 percent of employees fully comprehend their benefits. That is the leading takeaway from research...

Bipartisan Senate Compromise May Reinstate CSRs, Alter 1332 Waivers

by Thomas Beaton

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TX) and Patty Murray (D-WH)  have floated a bipartisan deal to reinstate the ACA’s cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) and boost individual enrollment outreach in exchange for alterations to the state 1332...

Health Plan Consumers Report Insufficient Payer Communications

by Thomas Beaton

Health plans may not be effectively communicating with consumers about member  benefits and largely fail to understand their members’ health and financial needs, a survey from Healthmine found. A sample of 750 consumers...

80% of Payers Investing in Member Engagement, Satisfaction

by Thomas Beaton

Eighty percent of health plans are focusing on improving member engagement and consumer satisfaction, according to a survey by Change Healthcare.   Member engagement is a growing opportunity for payers because of the potential...

Pediatric Data Reveals Private Payer, Medicaid Spending Gaps

by Thomas Beaton

Private payers spend close to twice as much on pediatric services as Medicaid, according to a statistical brief from AHRQ, highlighting significant disparities in cost related to visit type and geographical region. Data from the 2015...

90% Medicare Supplemental Plan Members Report Satisfaction

by Thomas Beaton

Over 90 percent of Medicare supplemental plan beneficiaries cited satisfaction with their healthcare coverage, according to a recent AHIP study. Findings point out ways for payers to provide consumer-friendly health plans to a growing...

Nevada Blue to Offer Supplemental Medicare Coverage to Members

by Thomas Beaton

On October 1, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Nevada members can enroll in Medicare Supplemental Innovation Plans F, G, or N that provide preventative care services and extended benefits, the payer announced earlier this week. The plans...

Anthem to Acquire FL Medicare Advantage Organization HealthSun

by Thomas Beaton

Anthem entered into an agreement to acquire Florida-based HealthSun, a payer and integrated health system that provides care and coverage to 40,000 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, the payer announced in a press release.   Leaders...

Veterans Gained Coverage under ACA, but May Lose Big from Repeal

by Thomas Beaton

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) produced significant coverage gains for veterans, currently proposed repeal actions could hit this population particularly hard, according to a study from RAND Corporation. Prior to the ACA, 9.1 percent...

Narrow Provider Networks are 16% Cheaper for ACA Plans

by Thomas Beaton

Economists from Harvard Business School and Northeastern University found individual ACA silver plans with narrow provider networks were 16 percent cheaper for consumers and offer payers a promising savings opportunity in the commercial...

Governors Propose Health Insurance Market Stabilization Plan

by Thomas Beaton

Eight state governors have outlined their proposals for a health insurance market stabilization plan that would control premium increases and improve competition in the federal and state health insurance exchanges. In a letter sent to...

Latest Earnings Reports Show State of Health Payers in 2017

by Thomas Beaton

At the half-year mark, payers have a good sense of how well their efforts to promote value-based care have fared and the opportunity to make the necessary adjusts where they have not. As part of the business-facing side of value-based...

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